Coaching and off-field staff thread

Dlions

Norm Smith Medallist
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I don't mean in the sense of a sacking, I mean in the sense that he's 58 and may want to retire one day. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. More just wondering whether people can see Hodge succeeding him.
I reckon Fages will be the one that the AFL will chase for the Tassie Devils in 2025. And he will accept, as he will already have won 3 or 4 premiership here.
Whether Hodgey is the one to take over is any Mans guess? As it is a long way away!
 

BigCat2

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I don't mean in the sense of a sacking, I mean in the sense that he's 58 and may want to retire one day. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. More just wondering whether people can see Hodge succeeding him.
I see what you mean. Fages has served a 20 year apprenticeship before getting this chance, and I'm sure he'll want to make the most of it. Given his methods and enthusiasm, I can see him doing this for a long time.
 

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Football Pope

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Current age of retirement is 65, right? Let's worry about it after winning five premierships in a row and he's got two years left.
Nah,....use to be...There is no fixed retirement age in Australia...The Pension age is 65½ and it rises in stages to 67 in July 2023. there are moves to have that changed to 70 by 2035.
 

Dylan12

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I think Fages is at the Lions for the long run. I reckon the one we should be worried about leaving is Nobes. Would be a fantastic head coach one day.
From what I understand, Noble harbours ambitions to be a club CEO. That obviously still doesn’t mean another club would poach him for that role, but I’d hope he succeeds Swann.
 

StevoJenkins

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I'm sorry to be morbid, but Freo's current situation is making me think about succession plans. How long do we reckon Fagan might coach for, and can you see Hodge succeeding him, or someone else, perhaps currently on our staff?
I don’t think Hodge will ever become a head coach, his choice to do assistant coaching and media work is telling of that. He likes being on the telly frequently and doing coaching, but he can’t do both as a head coach.

He might change his mind in time, but that seems to be undoable with his choice of roles.
 

Dlions

Norm Smith Medallist
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I don’t think Hodge will ever become a head coach, his choice to do assistant coaching and media work is telling of that. He likes being on the telly frequently and doing coaching, but he can’t do both as a head coach.

He might change his mind in time, but that seems to be undoable with his choice of roles.
I think he is a little unsure whether to go the media route or the Coaching route after his playing days are over and that is why he is doing both next year, to see which path he would like to take more permanently!
 

Jivlain

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I reckon Fages will be the one that the AFL will chase for the Tassie Devils in 2025. And he will accept, as he will already have won 3 or 4 premiership here.
Whether Hodgey is the one to take over is any Mans guess? As it is a long way away!
Not a good recent record on Lion premiership heros as head coaches, could be an issue.
 

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chopperduck

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Noble has no want to be a senior coach. Seriously think he will take over from Swann at some point. Fagan said this week that he is only interested in coaching 1 club. Don't think he will go to be coach of a new tassie team.
 

Back2Back2Back

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Great article on Fages in the HUN today.

If it's behind a paywall for anyone I can copy/paste if need be.
CHRIS FAGAN ON LEIGH MATTHEWS AND GREG SWANN:
“We live in the same area and most Tuesday nights we get together. Leigh usually decides where we eat.
That is so cool. I know their coaching styles are worlds apart but imagine having that type of club history back to the premiership era on tap like that.
 

Lazza16

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Noble has no want to be a senior coach. Seriously think he will take over from Swann at some point. Fagan said this week that he is only interested in coaching 1 club. Don't think he will go to be coach of a new tassie team.
Perhaps Director of Football in Tassie.......cozy pre retirement job with AFL making an offer he can't refuse.?
 

haystark

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Can someone post the article please, thank you!
Mark Robinson: Why Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is respected and admired
There were hugs all around the Gabba last week, with Brisbane coach Chris Fagan leading the charge, and even Leigh Matthews found himself getting caught up in the emotion.

Leigh Matthews and Greg Swann reveal their great affection for regular dinner date Chris Fagan. The coach who has quietly revolutionised Brisbane joins the group hug.

CHRIS FAGAN ON LEIGH MATTHEWS AND GREG SWANN:
“We live in the same area and most Tuesday nights we get together. Leigh usually decides where we eat.

“We take our wives and it’s a good opportunity for them to catch up and we just have a feed and chew the fat.

“Leigh likes steak or ribs. I vary. Leigh’s very much a creature of habit. Swanny mixes it up as well.

“I didn’t really know Leigh before I got to Brisbane. When I first got the job, I was living here for three months on my own and he and Deb were some of the first people to invite me for a feed.

“He’s been a fantastic for mentor for me. Because he’s been a senior coach, I’ve been able to talk to him about things which I can’t talk to other people about.


“He’s been magnificent. And he’s got a sense of humour with it.

“His judgment on football and footballers is as sharp as it has ever been. But most of all Leigh is a good bloke.

“I had this impression as a player, he was a ruthless player and when he coached Brisbane, they were a ruthless team and I just thought he was a ruthless bloke.

“But he’s not. He’s got a good sense of humour and doesn’t seem to take life too seriously. We always have a good laugh on Tuesday nights and it’s probably what I look forward to the most.

“I’m usually a bit tired by Tuesday. We’ve done the reviews on Monday and Tuesday’s all about the opposition, and I haven’t had a lot of sleep. And I get to Tuesday night and look forward to that dinner, a glass of wine and bit of a laugh.

“I don’t know what the wives talk about because we sit up one end and they sit it up the other (laughing). It’s the perfect Australian dinner table, really.

“I sort of pinch myself every time I catch up with him to be honest. It’s one of the fringe benefits that I get to talk and mix with people who in some way you look up to, or see them as heroes.

“I didn’t climb any great heights as a player, so to be able to mix with someone like Leigh is pretty special. As I’ve got to know him and what a great person he is, and how he’s only got the best interests of our footy club and me, I look forward to catching up with him.

“I don’t feel so intimidated anymore. It’s just a couple of mates having a chat.

“I’d never seen Leigh in the rooms after a game, so when I saw him last Saturday (after the win against Geelong), it was great. I could see the happiness on his face.

“And he gave me a hug. It was a big moment. He’s seen some successful days and seen some dark days at this club and his biggest hope is to get the club back to being respected again. I think he’s enjoying it.

“It’s funny, some people think these guys are past it, were yesterday’s men, they don’t understand the game anymore, I reckon that’s so untrue. You can learn so much from older people, how you manage people, how you deal with issues, how you stay the course. He’s fantastic.

“I didn’t know Swanny that much before I got here. At the start, Swanny rang me and asked me if I was coach or a footy manager.

“I said, ‘I’m a footy manager, but I’ve always wanted to be a coach’. He asked me I was interested in going through their process.

“I said I’d like to talk him and whoever else before I would throw myself into the process, because I didn’t know how fair dinkum they were. I didn’t want to be just another name going through the process.

“They seemed pretty fair dinkum when I met them, so I had a crack.

“I’ve found that Swanny knows a lot about footy. Some people are critical of him for that, but I’ve never found him to be a person who interferes.

“He has worked at Collingwood, Carlton and Brisbane and has a lot of experience. You can actually learn from him. It’s good that he feels like he’s part of the journey with the footy team.

“His wife, Leonie, has been terrific to Ursula, my wife, since she arrived and they often catch up for coffee and do things together. The relationships she has with her and Deb are really important.

“As for the three of us — Leigh, Swanny and me — well, I can’t say we’re the odd couple because there’s three of us. How would I describe us? A group of mates with a common interest and a common cause.

“Our pathways have been different until now, but we’ve all merged.’’

GREG SWANN ON CHRIS FAGAN:
“It wasn’t a formal interview for the role, but Peter Schwab and I went to his home in Box Hill and we straightaway thought he’s a good bloke.

“My first conversation with him set the scene. I rang him and said, ‘Hello Chris, It’s Greg Swann’ and the first thing he said was ‘I’m a coach you know’. I thought that’s good because we’re looking for a coach.

“At the interview, (psychologist) Matti Clements and Simon Black said he was the man. There was myself, David Noble, Schwabby, Blacky and Matti. He was clearly the standout.

“Fages rebuilt this football team and by extension the club. In the interview, he was talking about the young talent. So, we’re going to play an attacking brand of football, we’re going to let them play and then add layers to it. He wanted them to express themselves.

“He’s incredibly level as coach, has got massive experience, is hardworking, enthusiastic, all those chestnuts. But he’s just a good bloke, a really good bloke.

“I didn’t know him that well before I got here. We now live 200m from each other, our wives are good friends and we’re good friends. We have the occasional hit of golf and we see each other a lot just walking around the street. We’re not hopeless at golf, but we’re not good players.

“What we have been is a really stable club in the past three years. He’s been a key part of that.

“With the list managing, he meets the players and they want to play for him.

“People and players from other clubs hear he’s a really good people’s person, a great man-manager. That’s why we ended up with four blokes coming to the club last year when three or four years ago we were losing them.

“He likes competitors. He wants competitors.

“As I said, I live 200m from Fages and Leigh lives another 200m up the hill again and we all go out for dinner most Tuesday nights with our wives. It starts about 6.30 and we’re gone by eight. They’re good nights.

“Leigh has a steak, he always has a steak. Wherever we go, he has a steak. Fages mixes it up, Leigh doesn’t mix it up and I mix it up.

“Leigh has a red, Fages has a white and I have a beer. Leonie, Ursula and Deb are up the other end of the table that’s what happens, and we talk general footy.

“We didn’t go last night because we had a function on, but if we did, we probably would’ve talked about Rossy Lyon and how that all went down. Tuesday is the day they pick the team, so we might ask Fages who’s in and out.

“We don’t have a say, but we get it hot off the press. Leigh probably talks the most at dinner. He bounces stuff off us. Like, how do you reckon 6-6-6 is going? I reckon the AFL should do this or that, what do you think? Fages has always viewed Leigh as a fantastic resource for him.

“Fages and me? My style is to get people in the positions and let them do their jobs. I just like his honesty and what you see is what you get. He’s been a superb pick up. We’re not afraid to say we didn’t expect to be going as well as we are this year, but now that we’re here, we’re enjoying the ride.

“No, I didn’t man-hug him on Saturday. I saw Leigh do that. I hadn’t seen Leigh in the rooms since I’ve been here, and he was genuinely excited.

“They had, what would you call it, a fond embrace (laughing). One of the doyens of the club and the new coach. It was fantastic to see.’’

LEIGH MATTHEWS ON CHRIS FAGAN:
“I went into the rooms last week for the first time since I’ve stopped coaching. I sought out Fages, gave him a man hug. Yeah, a man hug … (laughing) … a man hug.

“You don’t have that many euphoric days at the footy, even as a coach. Sometimes when you win it’s good, but you’re not euphoric — and last Saturday was a euphoric.

“I kind of miss that. And I’m not a man hugger. I can’t even think the last time I had a man hug. Maybe when I was coaching one day. But I’m not going to be man-hugging him again until they win a Grand Final.

“That’s the next time. You can’t plan man hugs. Man hugs are instinctive, you don’t think about it, it just happens.

“I'll tell you this, I finished coaching because I didn’t want the state of my life to be affected by a game of football. I’ve been helping out on the Lions board, but I don’t want to care about a game of footy.

“That’s what I did for 40 years of my life. But I found myself on Saturday caring about a game of footy. And it gave me a bit of euphoria, which I haven’t experienced since I coached. So, that part was quite good.

“I don’t observe Fages’ coaching. I’m not at meetings. What I see is the off-field persona, his manner, the personality and character. I said to him last night at a function, and I hope it’s complimentary, but the coaching thing in American movies is about the authoritarian figure and I always joke that he is like the friendly uncle figure.

“No one’s going to take advantage of him, but he’s got great empathy.

“In modern footy, you have to be able to delegate. So, you have to build that relationship with everyone in your footy department, let alone your players.

“I’ve said many times, the senior coach role in modern footy is overrated publicly, it’s important, but you’ve got to co-ordinate a whole footy department and get the players on side. Fages is very much involved in doing that.

“This year they’ve won a lot of games. Twelve months ago, and even before that, we didn’t win many games. But there was this vibe that the Lions wasn’t a bad place to play footy — that players wanted to be there.

“Player managers said this was a good place to play footy.

“I look at that as a miracle because it’s hard to do that if you’re not winning. There was a great feeling and calmness around the place and it was spreading outside.

“That was a pretty big achievement and Fages is the epicentre of that.

“I give him my opinion on things. Whether he acts on them, that’s up to him. It’s more about understanding the ‘buck stops’ role.

“The senior coach is the ‘buck stops’ role. While I might think it’s overrated, everyone else thinks that, so the senior coach ends up thinking he’s responsible.

“He’s not under less pressure now, he’s under more pressure.

“I said to him the other night, you’ve earned the right to have big pressure by playing big games in front of big crowds. You’ve earned this, so embrace it.

“Most weeks we have dinner on Tuesday nights. We talk about what’s going on in the footy world.

“He normally has the changes of the week, and we might talk about them. Greg and Leonie, Chris and Ursula, and Deb and I, we’ve become good friends.

“We normally have a bit of meat, a steak if we can find a steak. Most places we go to you tend to have a bit of meat.

“It’s impossible not have a warmth towards Fages. You’d be a very hard marker not to like to Chris Fagan. If you said how many close friends have I got, I’d say a few. Some people have a 100 close friends, I only have a few.

“Fages and I don’t live in each other’s pockets, we go out for tea on Tuesday nights, we don’t go on holidays together … but he’s pretty good bloke.’’
 

jackess

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Really great article.

Seems like Carlton and North have gone down a similar path of appointing a mentor and uncle figure as coach
 

Jason mp

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Really great article.

Seems like Carlton and North have gone down a similar path of appointing a mentor and uncle figure as coach
I now think the Bombers should follow suit and appoint an uncle as their next coach so when they come to Brisbane we can go the knuckle on him.
 

Dylan12

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With Chris Fagan having now coached Brisbane on 66 occasions (the same number as Justin Leppitsch) it is interesting to see the differences in some of the numbers:

Fagan - Coached (66 games), Won (26), Lost (40), Winning % (39.39), Points Differential (-563)

Leppitsch - Coached (66 games), Won (14), Lost (52), Winning % (21.21), Points Differential (-2521)

Thank god for Chris Fagan!
 

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